so, here’s the deal

July 20, 2010 at 10:00 pm (Uncategorized)

I started another blog… I wanted to keep this one up, I did, but it doesn’t fit anymore – kinda like those jeans I bought 5 years ago.  I’ve grown out of this blog, what can I say.

My knitting days are further and farther in between, sadly, but that’s what happens when one is busy as a bee. I also picked my metal work back up and have been making jewelry more than knitting. It’s okay, at least I didn’t learn to crochet, right?!?!

I also put up an etsy shop that I am trying a bit to promote, so the cheeseheadwithsticks just isn’t the right venue anymore. (Why do I feel like I’ve let you down, like I’m cheating or something??)

So anyway, c’mon over and join me here thefrogspond.wordpress.com – I promise to write more there, and I promise it will be the same, but different :)

(yes, I’ll stop the emoticon smiley faces now…maybe) I feel so dirty… lol

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Travel Where Your Heart Leads You

October 15, 2009 at 3:01 pm (Uncategorized) ()

So, to justify having all this time on my hands as I sit and constantly stare down the phone patiently wait to be called to work, I told myself I would work for 4 hours in my studio on days I wasn’t working. I didn’t do it at all this week because:

  • my studio was a mess and had to be cleaned first
  • I kind of looked at this week as a week to get a head start on the house
  • my studio was a mess
  • my studio was a disaster

You get what I’m sayin!

So, I finally made it down today. I had picked up some dyed ribbon at WI Sheep and Wool from the Carriage House Woolens booth that was just gorgeous. (I could kick myself for not buying more colors because I only got 2 hanks and I don’t see it available on their website. I’ll have to inquire if they have more.) I choose the blue and green one to work with today, since I always go for red and black. (the other color I got of course!)

DSCF3433_1003x800

I looked around and found a vintage necklace that had beads that would compliment the ribbon, as well as a vintage clip on earing and started to get to work. I am using postage stamps along with the beads and ribbon. I visualize this necklace being worn as an independent, confidant, woman travels across the world in a train way back in time, with her big full dresses and trunks full of souvenirs from her travels. I think I’ll make a pair of earings to match.

DSCF3437_1067x800

And that is where I quite for today. My time was up, and I need to buy a new soldering iron before I can finish the postage stamp charms.

Everything is made by hand by myself, so it takes a long time to put one of these treasures together. Of course the photos aren’t so great because my studio is dark and in the dungeon, but I’ll be sure the final pictures do it justice.

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Picture Post – now explained

August 7, 2009 at 11:28 pm (Uncategorized)

Well, it seems I never made it back for the story behind these pictures.

A few weeks ago, DH’s grandmother passed away. She was 94 and lived a very full life. The family had asked if there was anything I wanted of hers and I had replied that I would take any of the cheap costume jewelry that nobody wanted. I figured surely there was SOMETHING in there that would be nice to upcycle.

When I was going through the bag they had given me I came across several religious medals. This cross spoke to me the loudest however. This cross had a reason for being in my hands. It had a journey to go on!

Remember a long time ago how I was lamenting over my nephew’s decision to join the Army? While I am incredibly proud of him, I’m also selfish in not wanting any harm to come of him. He had recently been home for his last visit before he was to be deployed to Iraq. Well, with Grandma passing away, he was granted emergency leave to attend the funeral just a few days before he was scheduled for deployment. We got one more visit in as a gift from Grandma.

As I held this cross it was as if Grandma was whispering down to me that it needed to go with my nephew. I did some research to see what he was allowed to wear, and yes, he could wear a religious symbol. So, I headed down to my studio, grabbed some copper sheeting, copper wire, and some scrap sterling silver sheeting.

cross pendant front

This is what came forth in the end. A medal that was about the same size as his dog tags bearing the following wish:

cross pendant back

I’m pretty happy with it. I love the front. The back is a bit, well, let’s say it has character!

He was scheduled to leave nearly 2 weeks ago, but his deployment got pushed back. He will be heading over there soon enough though and won’t be back in time for Christmas now most likely.

Now Grandma’s cross is with my nephew and she can watch over him.

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Rain, Moths, and Hope

July 22, 2009 at 8:01 am (creating, Pink Artist Block Party)

It’s raining. I would soooo like to call in sick to work today, however if I do there is no one else to get the job done. No such luxury for me today then!

My sister-in-law and I are taking the little kids “camping” this weekend. I say “camping” because we are going to a not so cheap family campground that is a mere 6 miles from my house (it’s over an hour from hers). But, we are sleeping in tents and it is supposed to rain all weekend – so we will be “roughing” it.

I haven’t got much get up and go lately. I think I am still recovering from taking the Girl Scout troop camping a few weekends ago. Did I post about that? Probably not. It was a lot of fun. Many of the girls had never been camping before and I think they all had a great time. We even got a visit from this lovely creature.
luna moth

It’s a Luna Moth – perched on a 4 x 4. It is about 3 inches wide.

I have one more thing to share with you. I spent some of Saturday working on my necklace for the Pink Artist Block Party 09. (I had intended on spending ALL of Saturday working on it, but then I fell down the rabbit hole and spent a shamefully long amount of time rearranging my farm on FarmTown. I could have knit an entire washcloth and a half in the time I spent. It’s shameful!)

Here is what I have so far. Not much, but most of the “hard” stuff is done.

pink artist block party necklace 1

Keeping in mind the reason for the fundraiser, the words on the scroll  read: “She never thought of herself as a strong WOMAN until she looked back at all she had OVERCOME. Then she knew she was as strong as a MOUNTAIN.”  The scroll will be rolled up and kept shut in some way that can be pulled out and read and then rolled back up, so it will look like a paper bead. I used vintage buttons for the links you see.

As I was making the button links I just kept imagining all the history those buttons “witnessed” before someone cut them off their garment and put them in a jam jar to reuse some day. Can you imagine the “girl talk” they heard? The babies that touched and tried to eat them? The special occasions they may have been worn to?  The obstacles that their wearer had overcome?

I just LOVE working with old items and imagining their previous lives and what they “witnessed”.

This necklace is inspired by a project in the book Semiprecious Salvage.

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Sometimes the Only Thing You Can Do is Blog About It…

January 17, 2009 at 12:23 am (Uncategorized)

(warning – long entry!)

School was canceled yesterday and today because of the bitter cold temperatures we are having here in Wisconsin. I also got lucky and the kids spent the night at their cousins house last night, which meant the only person I had to get ready today was ME. Mr. CH was working 3rd shift, so I spent last night gloriously alone watching shows on the big TV that we normally can’t because of the kids like CSI and Grey’s Anatomy. I hogged the bed. I fought no one for the covers. I slept without the TV on!

I showered last night so the only thing I would have to do this morning is roll out of bed, let the dog out, start the car, put some logs in the wood burner, and get dressed (yes, in that order, it was like -15 this morning). 15 minutes – Tops! This meant I could sleep in another HOUR. It was going to be a beautiful morning – the kind of morning that busy mothers fantasize about more than they fantasize about cabana boys in Mexico!

I set my alarm 30 minutes early, because I know me. I have to hit snooze 3 times before my brain registers – that is with a walk across the bedroom each time to do it. When the time came I got up, threw on my coat and mittens, grabbed my keys and brought the dog out with me to start the car. Now, if you’ve been reading this blog a while, you know the dog is notoriously a non-listener on occasion. She’s been real good about staying around in this freezing cold weather and when it’s dark, so I didn’t put her on her chain since I was out with her and she hasn’t not listened outside in months.

Please – hold your snickers until the end! Have you no faith?

And that is where it went all wrong. She did her business and ran right on down to the goat pen. One of her favorite past times is running circles around the goat pen at the speed of light. I called her. She feigned deaf. I called a few more times and she still didn’t come. I went in the house to get dressed – surely she would be ready to come in very soon with this weather.

Please, do try to contain yourself – it only gets better! Oh, this may also be a good time to use the restroom if you have a weak bladder. I’m just sayin… We’ll wait…….

Better? Good.

So, I get dressed and I’m ready to leave for work. I try calling the dog and she still doesn’t come in. I go outside and she’s still running circles like a loon. For 10 minutes I try to be all calm and nice and call her without sounding like the only thing I want to do is strangle her. I try to convince her that I really won’t yell at her if she would just come to me.

She just keeps on a runnin, runnin, runnin.

I try to bring out my dominant side for another 5 minutes. I lower my voice. I stand tall and all calm and dominant like. I close my eyes, breathe in,  and summon the wisdom and spirit of the great Ceasar Millan while calling to her.

And she just keeps on a runnin, runnin, runnin.

Mr. CH calls me to tell me he just left work and he is on his way home. I tell him I’ll see him tonight and hang up.

I crouch down all low like and non-threatening. I talk sweet to her. I promise her good eats when we get inside.

And she just keeps on a runnin, runnin, runnin.

And I am freezing, freezing, freezing. -15 degrees, remember?

I decide that I am going to have to resort to the shock collar that she is currently wearing. (Please don’t tell me how cruel it is, its only used when we absolutely must get her attention and that thing is not nearly as strong as the electric fence she keeps zappin herself on trying to get into the pen – that sucker HURTS – I’ve not respected the power of the fence plenty of times.) I go in for the controller and can’t find it anywhere.

I take turns between looking for the controller inside to trying to lure/call the dog inside. I try treats. I try toys. I try running away from her with my arms in the air all playful like. I try pretending that I’m going for a ride in the car. I leave and come back.

And she just keeps on a runnin, runnin, runnin.

I also try language that I am sure the far away neighbors may call the police on me with if they are outside long enough to get a good listen. F-bombs are flying like it’s World War 3 at this point. Calm assertiveness my arse!

And she just keeps on a runnin, runnin, runnin.

I decide if I had a BB gun I would be shooting it. I have clearly lost my ever-loving mind at this point and call Mr. CH to ask why he moved the collar remote and where the bleepity bleep did he put it??!

He tells me where it is, hanging, 14 inches from my head. I mutter and hang up the phone. I grab the remote, head outside, call the dog to give her one more chance, and then press the button.

And she just keeps on a runnin, runnin, runnin.

I press it again.

And she just keeps on a runnin, runnin, runnin.

I point the remote at her as if I am hurling a force of whoop-ass in her direction and I push that button like I REALLY mean it!

And she just keeps on a runnin, runnin, runnin.

I realize the batteries in the collar are dead because it’s been days since we used the thing and haven’t bothered to recharge it. I’m already going to be nearly an hour late for work.

Just then, as I hang my head to the ground I hear Mr. CH barrellin’ up the driveway.

He parks, gets out, calls the dog, and she runs to him. I look at him and say
“Great. I’m going to work now, buh bye!” and I turn around to walk to my car and mutter swear words under my breath. It’s 6:55 am.

At 4:45 pm I get a call at work. It’s Mr. CH telling me that if the dog isn’t inside when I get home she’s outside. He let her out off of her leash and she’s just a runnin around the pen and he can’t get her inside and he has to go to work blah blah bla.

I won’t be home for at least 2 hours.

Immediately my head fills with visions of the dog dying at the door of hypothermia or frost bite; visions of the dog running away and bothering the neighbors horse and me having to go pathetically stand outside the horse pen for an hour trying to coax her that I’m way cooler than the horse again; visions of angry neighbors with my dog beating the door down; visions of the dog being hit by a car.

I’m a protector. It is my one thing I do to a fault. I protect things that breathe. Sometimes even things I am not sure I really like; like goats, crazy dogs, and in the past an alcoholic husband. It’s just what I do.  The thought of her outside alone in these temperatures was more than I could bear. Suddenly I was furious that I was going to have to deal with the mayhem caused by someone other than myself not using the chain and worried about the poor dog. Mr. Ch and I proceeded to get in a lovely war while I was at work. Probably our 3rd fight in almost 2 years.

I spent the next 2 hours stewing, worrying, crying, yelling at no one in my car, and trying to practice my belief in not wasting energy on things you can’t fix. I had a plan for every scenario I could possibly imagine. I’m also a fixer. I prayed to god to have her be home or give me strength to deal.

As we were closer to home I felt better – soon I would know the outcome of this ordeal and I could deal with it. She would be freezing and happy to see me when she finally did. At last we got home, I got the kids out of the car and in the house then yelled for the dog. Nothing. I prepared to take the car to go look for her, but looked down at the goat pen first.

There she was – just a runnin, runnin, runnin.

I called all nice and sweet, I called all mean and bad, I had treats…

And she just kept a runnin, runnin, runnin.

For the next 2 hours I would call out the door for her every few minutes, go outside every 2o and try to get her in the house. I even offered her up a nice bloody delicious venison steak. Surely she had to decide she was cold at some point – she’d been outside for hours, and it was freezing!

And she just kept a runnin, runnin, runnin.

At 8pm, an hour later, I went outside with resolve. She’d been runnin around that pen for nearly 4 hours. I decided she was retarded from the cold and incapable of doing anything other than try to get a goat.  If she wanted a goat, by golly, she was gonna get one. I was going in that pen and getting a goat as bait if it was the last thing I did tonight.

I grabbed a shovel and went down to shovel out the gate to the pen. After a few scoops it was clear it was iced into the ground and wasn’t going to budge even if I cleared the 3 feet of snow away. I figured I could push it in, but first I better disconnect the electric fence so as not to get zapped. I reached through the wire mesh fence and unhooked the connection for the electric fence. It fell and I knew it would shock Jill, the friendly goat I was going to use as bait, if I didn’t move it.

In one of my finest moments ever I grabbed the metal fence in one hand and grabbed the electric fence wire with my other. You’ve taken middle school science class, right? You know that I have just created a complete circuit using my very own body. I take a step to toss the wire out of the way and ZAP!* I feel the current run from one hand to the next in a split second. There is a distinct pain in my right fingers, my left palm, and my chest (thank you underwire bra) as I drop the wire and am in disbelief at what an idiot I am with that fence, yet again! I like to think the wool mittens staved off a bit of pain, but I had to remove them and put my hands in the snow to take away the sting.

With the stupid fence wire out of the way now I proceed to pull on the fence to see if I can get it loose or push it in. I reach to grab the shovel and trip over my own foot and fall on my face into the snow. I curse violently, get up, decide that this is NOT the last thing I will do, tell the dog she can freeze, and go inside.  Oh ya – the zipper on my coat is broke and it doesn’t stay shut – do you know how freakin cold I am?

And she just kept a runnin, runnin, runnin…

After warming up for 20 minutes or so, I decide to give it another go. I put my gear back on, walk down to the pen, trample the fence over, put it back up to keep out the dog, and try to convince Jill to come to me so I can put a leash over her head and horns. I realize I forgot the marshmallows (a goat will do anything for marshmallows). She’s apparently wise to the idea that I am about to lead her out of the pen, in 3 feet of snow, and allow the dog to chase after her as I get her up to the house, thus cohorsing the dog inside the house. She’s not getting close enough. Oh ya, it’s dark as heck – no lights, trying to grab a goat and not fall – entertainment for anyone. I told her I’d let her stay inside for a bit and enjoy the warmth and some nice fresh fruit as compensation.  No go.

Just as I was ready to give up on the plan again, I see the other 2 goats barrel past us. They  don’t come by humans because they weren’t handled enough as kids, so I thought it a bit odd. Next came the dog. She had somehow gotten in the pen, and not the way I did.

Now I had a barrel of monkeys on my hands. It’s one thing to annoy horned goats with a fence separating you. It’s entirely another to do it where they can ram you and cause bodily harm and big vet bills. It’s also another when the dog can actually bite the goat causing bodily harm and big vet bills.

So, I’m in a goat pen, at night in the dark, freezing my ass off in the middle of winter, with a crazed dog chasing goats, goats charging dog and not a soul around of any use.

I yelled to the sky, I hoped for the dog to get cornered where I could grab her, I wished for Ree’s Marlboro Man or Pesky Tim to ride in, lasso the dog,  and save me as I stood there crying and laughing at the hilarity of it all for just a moment.

I tried for a few more minutes to get Jill, but it was impossible. Just then Hansel**, our timid yet sweet  male, stopped right by me. I threw my leash around his head and tightened up quick. After I knew he was caught I told him that this was his finest hour. He was going to be my hero if he liked it or not.

It seems that goats don’t understand english much. While I am telling him what great honor he had stumbled upon he insisted on trying to drag me the other way in protest.  So, here I am, dragging a 100+ lb goat through 3 feet of snow, over logs I can’t see, all the while fending off a dog and trying to stay upright. Hansel fought me greatly and he was choking himself a bit with the leash by not following along all sweet like. I knew it was now or never though, for everyone’s safety (cuz dude, if this didn’t work, I’d have my own private rubber room and a pretty little straight jacket to match!), so I drug on and apologized all the while to poor Hansel. I drug him over the fence, I drug him to the path, I drug him up a hill, and then I drug him up the driveway. The dog was still in the pen with the others so I let Hansel have a breather, told him if he would just move his feet and follow me it would be over sooner, and made some noise to get the dog’s attention that “hey, there’s a goat out where it doesn’t belong – come get it”. Once we got to the house Hansel was much more cooperative. Jill has been in the house plenty (another story for another day), but he never has since he was just a little kid. Warm air however is a great motivator. I got him in the house and reassured Little Mr. that this time it was okay if there was a goat in the house and he was really sweet and not gonna hurt him (hey – you didn’t think the dog was magically gonna go inside with a goat outside did you?) The dog was about ready to follow us in, but somehow she was on to me and knew I would grab her the second she was in the house though and she didn’t take the bait. Just then Jill came a wandering up from the pen.  This was not helpful. A leashed goat I can control, a free one I can’t. I had to get her contained in the house so she wouldn’t distract the dog from coming in after the goat allready in the house. I had Little Miss get on her winter gear and lure Jill in with marshmallows. She put Jill in the bathroom (hey, they don’t get to roam free) and then I had her hold the screen door open from the back. I walked Hansel in further and when the dog came back to the door she went in the house this time and Little Miss slammed the door behind her.

DOG IN HOUSE!!! yay!!!

Then Little Miss decided to come in  and before I knew it I had a dog/goat fight between my legs, an open door, and a 9 year old freaking out. Did I mention the horned goat between my legs – not cool. Not cool at all. I managed to keep the dog in and ride the bucking goat all at the same time while Little Miss slammed the inside door shut. I’ve only got a few large bruises on my inner thighs as souvenirs – thank god the horns missed you know where! From there we got the dog in the bedroom with Little Miss and shut the door. I took the leash of Hansel, apologized but explained that now he was free of the terrorist dog in the pen and he was a hero in his own right Then I gave him a few handfuls of marshmallows.

After that I let him back outside and went in the bathroom to get Jill. I took her out and tried to get her back in the pen, but she wouldn’t have it. It was okay – they deserved some freedom. (Goats don’t wander, trust me, I’ve tried that trick.) At least they could lick the salt off my car as a reward for their bravery. Goats really like lickin salt off cars and leaving them all polka-dotted with their tongue prints.

I went up to the house to barricade the garage door to keep the goats out during the night and Little Mr. yells out that dad is calling. I hollered to leave the phone ring and we would call him back (yay caller ID). After getting the garage barricaded I went in, put the dog on her leash, let her drink some water, and put her in the kennel. I inspected her as best I could for signs of frostbite or injury and gave her a clean bill of physical health, but a severe case of retardation in the brain. It was now after 9pm.

Then I called Mr. CH.

I instructed him that he would be fixing the goat fence alone before sleeping in the morning, giving the goats extra treats, and if he ever put that dog out without her chain again when he wasn’t going to be home for the next 12 hours to deal with it – I was gonna kill him.

And now that I have turned this story into something that you can only get over if you laugh at the hilarity and absurdness of it all, I am taking my battered, bruised, feelin like I’m gonna throw up, electroshocked body to bed – WHAT A FREAKIN’ DAY!

*electric fences do not emit a constant charge of electricity, they have more of a tick……tick…….tick……..tick intermittent charge.

** Yes, there is a pattern, first we had Jack and Jill, then Hansel and Gretel, then Mary, then we got off track with Little Feather, “the goat without a name” and Domino. We’ve got Jill, Hansel, and Domino left. Don’t ask why we have goats – I can only tell you that it was a dumb idea that I was against. Don’t drink and auction!

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There are No Words

October 29, 2008 at 9:23 am (Uncategorized)

that can prepare you for what you are about to see. This post will be graphic in nature, and those of you with weak stomachs for bad things happening to yarn may want to turn away now. The national rating system has rated this post as NC-17 for it’s graphic image content.

The morning started out like any other. I put the kids on the bus. I took the dog for  a walk even though I couldn’t find my mittens or ipod in time. I came back in and made myself a bowl of cereal and ate it. I started a load of laundry and then checked my email. I was in a room different than the dog for 5 mere minutes (although the door was open and it was right off the room she was in). When I came out to check that she wasn’t destroying something I saw pure carnage. The accused had taken my knitting bag off the counter, where it was pulled tightly shut, and quietly done this….

yarncarnage1

I looked at her and she took off running around the house. It was several minutes of me trying to capture her as she ran from under the table to under the desk in the living room. Finally she ran into one of her kennels and I locked her in.

theaccused

I then fell to my knees in front of my poor dead sock in progress. I assessed the situation.

yarncarnage2

(click to bigify image if you are really sick and twisted and enjoy that kind of thing or you want to see the dirt on my carpet – surely you will see some plastic beans remaining from when she destroyed Little Mr’s Doty beany baby puppy last night while he lay sleeping – we shall never tell him what happened to Doty in the dark of night)

Knitpicks Size 1 circular needles – destroyed

needles

7 hours knit on the most wonderful sock ever – destroyed.

thesock

2/3 of the front of the sock, the part with the pretty traveling stitches is completely gone.

I started sobbing like a 4 year old who hasn’t had a nap in 5 days who wants candy at 10pm. It was pathetic. Then I fell to the ground laughing at the thought of a grown mature women kneeling down on her living room floor in front of a pile of tangled yarn, destroyed needles and needle gauge, hours and hours of lost work, a dead sock and her wailing out loud. How very very pathetic and hysterical. I could practically see the scene from above as if I was watching some Lifetime Movie Channel movie. I laid there for a good 2 minutes wailing and laughing all at the same time. I could not control myself.

I knew that Mr. CH would be home any minute and that I could not let him see me in that state. I picked myself up, pulled up my big girl panties and did the only thing that could be done. I grabbed the camera to warn the rest of you to keep your knitting under lock and key. I took my pictures and gathered up the remains and took them to the kitchen. Just then Mr. CH came in the house and took one look at the yarn and one look at me, and I started sobbing again.

He tried to comfort me telling me that I could by more yarn and I could start all over. Which is entirely true, I even have another skein of another color in my stash and I could resort to the double pointed needles and start again this afternoon which is why my reaction is so unwarranted. But at the same time – it was my FAVORITE yarn.

It was my Creatively Dyed yarn, the yarn that spoke to me at WI Sheep and Wool. It was my very first purchase of the festival. It was all of the perfect colors and it was knitting up so beautifully without any pooling or weirdness. It was just beautiful. I explained that I would never ever be able to get that exact yarn again. Her yarn is one of a kind. It is a work of art, it is not a formula sitting in a box. There is no recipe for remaking my yarn color! Not to mention the complete lack of respect of the knitting from the dog. She can eat my shoes, she can eat my coat, she can eat my freakin couch and I wouldn’t care as much (really, the couch MUST be replaced, along with the carpet – my apologies for the stains!), but to eat my knitting – that’s just downright mean.

Mr. CH then presented me with this to make me feel better* -

zune

He gave me an 8GB Zune to help make me feel better, and I can’t say that it did, until I read that you can put video on it as well, then I maybe smiled a little.

I have placed the shredded tangled sock yarn remains in a box to maybe suffer through untangling, but then I don’t know if I will have enough left to make a pair of socks. The hurt is far too new to even think about moving on yet. Surely I will have to buy more than one new set of needles on payday to ease my pain. It’s a good thing I was able to restrain from diving into the halloween candy for comfort though. The Zune saved me from that black hole.

*I knew the Zune was in his possession – collecting Pepsi Points pays – it came in the mail the other day. He called me to ask “what is a zune? does it play music?” where I answered yes and told him that he should give it to me because he owes me like 3 years worth of birthday presents yet (not that I’m keeping track) and he laughed and then he hung up. Then I called him back and said “Oh, you said Zune? I thought you said Zoom. A Zune is a cheap crappy imitation of the really cool Zoom and you should give it to me so it doesn’t explode on you or something. I read they can do that and we don’t need you getting hurt.”

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Movin on up

January 10, 2007 at 1:14 am (good works, knitting)

Remember the mention of my hidious first projects?

Here they are in all their glory – or “furry”!

These scarves are getting an upgrade in life. Moving on to be something better. They are going from the back of the coat closet to the sweet smile on a kid’s face.

I stumbled on this blog entry to find these words waiting for me.

There seems to be a ward of 10-16 year olds who are undergoing radiation and
chemo for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses who need some hats. No,
not just ANY HATS… they want the fun fur. Yup, I said it. FUN FUR. And they
want a lot of it! Girls, boys… teens, preteens… all running around the wards
at Childrens’ Hospital with fun fur “hair”— laughing, playing, raisin’
hell…. sounds good, doesn’t it?

I knew right away how to right the wrong of the fun fur scarfs hiding in my closet! With over 200 people signed up to knit fun hats, a lot of fun fur hats will be going their way – but my guess is that it isn’t such a bad problem to have!

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The Story of the Socks that “Refuse To Be” – continued

January 10, 2007 at 12:37 am (knitting)

~Part Two~

As I was saying before – the sock looked a bit like the wrong size. It looked big. I set it aside for the night, hoping it might see the error of its ways and be smaller in the morning light. The next morning I compared it to the boy child’s feet. There was no way the sock was going to fit him before he was 7.

But wait – there was an older child in the house. A girl child. I sized up the sock to her foot and behold – a perfect match! These socks WANTED to be for her. They heard her disappointment upon learning the yarn was destined for her brother and tricked me at my math just so they could fit her wanting feet! My work was saved – there would be no frogging that day.

Weeks go by and I finished the first foot and get past the heel. The ball of yarn became suspiciously small. I weighed the yarn and realized that I was going to run out – and soon! I decided to undo the heel of the first sock, knit the foot of the second sock, knit the heels in plain blue yarn, and then hopefully have enough yarn to at least get ankle socks out of the deal.

I went and bought more yarn to dye and died enough blue yarn for the heels. I cast on for the second foot and knit away. I knit in the car. I knit on the couch. I knit at work. I knit until I ran out of yarn one-half an inch before I needed to start the heel. Half an inch! No big deal – just dye some more yarn – they were close enough the same size that if I dyed more yarn and it didn’t match exactly (because you KNOW it wouldn’t at this point) I could still make a matching pair. It was going to be okay. Really.

So, out came the blue and yellow kool-aid flavors. Off I went to the store for the green flavor. Out came the coffee mugs for dying. In it all went to the microwave. To the sink to rinse. Um? Wait. The green was much darker. Much – uh – greener. What the? I tossed things left and right looking for my bag of tiny dyed samples hiding at the bottom of the closet. What could have gone wrong? I dove into the samples and discovered I used Lime kool-aid for this batch instead of Ice Cool Arctic Green Apple. No problem. I would simply get the right color and re-do it and then start a pair of socks for the boy out of the much greener colorway. Back to the store.

I spent the next 3 weeks searching every food store in a 45 mile radius for the right flavor. At this point it had become a matter of principle. I was going to win this fight. I would find the right color and I would be victorious. I would laugh in the face of these socks. I would school them on who’s boss around here. A friend finally found the color I needed on the back of a shelve in a store 65 miles from where I live, saving me 4.95 in shipping costs from Amazon for one .65 cent packet of the elusive Ice Cool Arctic Green Apple Kool-aid. It was at this time that I was preparing to move out of my home in a very secretive way for reasons I won’t go into in this post. I put the kool-aid where I wouldn’t loose it when I moved. (I can hear your laughter along with the snickering of the cosmos – it’s okay, laugh your heart out.)

When I was finally settled into my new place and feeling back up to dealing with these stubborn socks I got out everything I needed to dye more yarn. Except – I couldn’t find the green kool-aid. I looked high. I looked low. I looked in places you would never ever hide kool-aid. It was nowhere to be found. Clearly aliens had snuck into my apartment, which was the only location Ice Cool Arctic Green Apple kool-aid could be found in the state of Wisconsin. It was the only logical explanation!

With a heavy heart I frogged the socks for the second time. Had there been a bottle of wine in the fridge, I may have drunk it all. I washed the yarn, let it dry, and wound it into two balls the next day. I cast on again for smaller socks for the boy child. I would knit them toe up at the same time with the magic loop to fend off any further disaster. I measured his feet. I did the maths. I hate the maths, but I did them anyway! I have tried the socks on his cute little feet every 5 rows at least.

I have re-knit to the heels. I really wanted to try a heel-flap instead of a short-row heel this time. I figured it would work out better and I could get rid of the holes I seem to get on short rows (and believe me – I have tried nearly EVERY trick out there to minimize holes – it’s just not meant to be for me). That did not work out – it still used short rows for part of the heel, and I was having none of that. I tried an afterthought heel. That was such a disaster I can’t even speak of it. I have decided to just do the short-row heel and be done with them.

I must admit, the socks are winning, just a little bit. Let’s just call it a compromise though, shall we? You know, a sort of “pick your battles” thing.

There are wonky stitches, twisted stitches, and even a mysterious little hole in one sole. Here me now when I say I WILL NOT TINK OR FROG these socks again! They will be completed even if I do nothing more than laugh at them while I set fire in a burn barrel to toss them in when it is all said and done. These socks will be socks if they are the last and most hideous technically bad socks I knit!

Tonight I pick them back up and knit heels!

(on a side note – any ideas on how to make these socks not so slippery on the soles? Maybe some fabric paint or something on the bottoms? It would just be too fitting of an end to the story be that the boy child slips on the floor at daycare and bloodies his nose because of them! I am wise to the ways of these socks now – I know what they will try next!)

**links will be posted later – blogger is fudged up again – what the heck! I’m switching over as soon as I have internet access at home again this summer!**

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The Story of the Socks that “Refuse To Be” – told in parts

January 5, 2007 at 7:48 pm (Uncategorized)

Part One:

Let me tell you a little story about these “gonna-be-if-it-kills-me” socks.

The yarn for these socks was born nearly a year ago. It all started when I stumbled on knitting socks in the first place. It may have been here, or here, or even here. From the moment I discovered you could knit socks I was in love. I spent more hours than is considered healthy searching for information about knitting socks. My children may have even muttered something about me not paying enough attention to them or that dry cereal and a glass of milk doesn’t really count as dinner. It’s all just a colorful blur of yarn in my memory. Midway through my obsessive sock surfing I stumbled upon dying yarn with Kool-aid. Kool-aid people! The simple, sweet elixir to childhood happiness could color my world in a mere 10 minutes!

I bought every single flavor and brand of drink mixes I could find at every store in town over the next 3 days. I even found out the local art supply store in the nearest town sold yarn. They had 2 skeins of white superwash sock yarn hiding in a back corner which I made mine. (At this point my “stash” consisted of fun fur, black acrylic “chenille” yarn, and a beautiful soft brown acrylic I was using to make my mother a scarf.)

Saturday finally rolled around. I made my 7 year old hold her hands with a ruler in between them so I could wind the yarn around them. We needed 20 tiny skeins all the same size for our experiment with color. We spent an entire day dying yarn with the various drink mixes I had hoarded throughout the week and hung them all in the bathroom shower to dry. My husband surely questioned my sanity when he came home to a shower full of colored yarn dangling from nearly every surface of shelving or handlebar.

I spent the night playing with the cute little skeins; figuring out what color combinations I should use. I decided to try some pinks and reds for me and then this color combination for my little boy. I wound the skeins, this time using the back of a kitchen chair. It was not sleeping, moved a lot less than my daughter, and did not request chocolate for payment. I stayed up late and cooked my fibery creations in the microwave. Again with the weird looks from my husband. I am sure he was waiting for a fire to start.

On Monday night the yarn was dry and I immediately cast on for my first pair of socks. I used Wendy’s simple toe-up pattern to start, but with a Figure 8 cast on instead of short-row toes (I would now suggest the magic cast on). I had no idea how to do short-rows. Time was a-wasting. There was no time for learning new skills when I didn’t have to really need them until I got to the heel. I managed to knit a whole sock for myself over the next few weeks. Then I cast on this yarn to get the boy child’s socks done before spring. A smaller sock meant faster success. I had only 4 FO’s at this point, and 2 of them were bordering on the side of “hideous”. A finished pair of socks would surely escalate my worth as a knitter!

I really don’t recall where I got my measurements from. I didn’t actually measure his foot. It was late. I was obsessed and felt the world may stop turning if I did not cast on anyway. I may have measured one of his socks, but I’m not sure what standard of measures I used, because it clearly was not inches. A few hours and inches into the sock I began doubting its size. It seemed that maybe, just maybe, these socks might be too big.

Stay tuned to find out.

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Welcome

January 4, 2007 at 4:26 pm (Excuse me while I babble.)

Welcome to my little corner. I have been wanting to start up my own blog for my crafts for a long time, and what better time to start than the New Year?

This will be my space to show my projects. I suspect they will mostly be knitting, since I have a knitting addiction. However, I really need to start to find a niche – something I am really good at. I have the technical ability to do just about any arty thing out there, it’s the ability to hang on for the long haul that I lack. I have an instant gratification problem. If it takes more than 90 minutes, I’m done. This makes no sence when you consider that my favorite things are knitting and working with metals. Both of these are long and time consuming processes.

I wanted 2007 to be a year of exploration. A year where I step up and stop putting my abilities down.

You see – I have been creating since I was old enough to remember. I had so many paper projects going on when I was younger that I think some of my relatives may still twitch when they see me with paper and scissors. Despite this, I managed to convince myself I was not even up to the ability to take more than one art class in high school. I went to college to become an architectural engineer. I failed miserably. I hated the math involved, and the realization that it was not really a creative field. I ended up going to college to earn a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts.

Even after graduating, I still didn’t really believe I was an artist. It really comes too easy to me for me to think I have skills. I mean, can’t everyone in the world design their own page layouts for books and have them look great? Can’t you all take a flat piece of metal and turn it into a beautiful leaf shaped shawl pin? I know in my heart the answer is no – and this will be the year I convince my head of the same.

I hereby vow to be arty and crafty and show the world the stuff I make that is crap and the stuff I make that rocks so that I can find out what it is I want to do while growing up!

I will be renovating this corner over the next few weeks to add links to the blogs I love to read (and I guess I better start commenting on those blogs as well instead of just quietly lurking in the corner) and other interesting inspirations.

I also find it perfectly fitting that after I set up this blog space and went on to read my daily dose of blogs I read Crazy Aunt Purl’s Hor-O-Scopes and found my Leo horoscope to be spot on! What inspiration – even Laurie knows what I need to do!

Now that the ice is broken – come back and take a look. I’ll have my current knitting WIP up soon.

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